Local veteran surprised with new home on national television
SAN ANTONIO – A local Army veteran his family appeared on national television New Year’s Eve and received a surprise they never saw coming.
“Caring for our wounded veterans is no easy task,” a Fox News Channel anchor introduced the segment.
The Spears family says it was a night they’ll remember the rest of their lives.
"We really had no idea,” mother Laura Spears says. “We were called last minute to go. We were told it was about caregivers and how caregivers take care of the wounded soldiers when they come back."
About four years ago, the family became overnight experts. During combat training at Fort Hood, Laura’s son First Lieutenant Garrett Spears was struck by lightning and suffered a traumatic brain injury.
"It has been a long journey,” Laura says.
Garrett’s mobility was impaired. His memory comes and goes. Renovating the family home to fit his needs has proved too costly.
But through it all, Garrett’s kept his infectious smile: a toothy grin that flashes across his face.
The Spears family never expected to be in Times Square, where underneath that famous New Year’s Eve ball, time simply stood still.
“They told a wonderful organization all about you,” a Fox News Channel explained to the family during the segment. "This is Garrett and his family. This is Dan from Operation Finally Home."
“Right now, we’ve built over 200 homes in 34 states,” says a representative from Operation Family Home. "We’re honored and blessed to announce that we're going to be providing you with a custom-built, mortgage-free home in San Antonio."
“Wow! Oh my gosh!” members of the Spears family exclaimed, one by one, as the surprise sunk in: Garrett would finally have a fully-accessible home.
Even watching the replay on a cell phone, they’re still speechless.
"Somebody cares enough to step in and say hey, we think that we would like to help,” Laura says. “This is a blessing more than we could ever imagine."
But Garrett knows exactly what to say.
"Do you want to say anything to Dan and Rusty?" Laura asks him, referring to the representatives from Operation Finally Home.
"Thank you!" Garrett says, with a broad smile.
By EMILY BAUCUM